Wait just a second…Intel? A leading provider hardware solutions for mobile communications handsets? That has got to be a joke, right? As odd as it might sound, that is about as true as it can get: thanks to its acquisition of Infineon Technologies, Intel is now officially one of the leading providers of baseband processors in the industry. And as proof that the chip giant is intent on making its presence in the mobile segment felt, the company has just announced the launch of its new XMM 7060 compact multimode platform. About time too!
*image shown above is purely for illustrative purposes and is not indicative of the actual product
With MeeGo as good as a'NoGo' now that Nokia has pulled out of the alliance with Intel, it would seem that the chip giant's plans for introducing an x86-powered smartphone is essentially dead on arrival. After all, it has been proven time and again that the x86 platform is just not suitable for use in highly mobile devices such as smartphones, especially when Intel's most low-power, energy efficient x86 Atom processors pale in comparison to ARM's offerings, which are unmatched as far as low-power performance is concerned.
However, it appears that Intel might just be shifting its smartphone strategy a little now that it is seems that its processors will never see the light of day in an actual retail smartphone. Instead of attempting to compete head on with ARM, the chip giant is apparently focusing on baseband processors which mobile phones make use of to communicate with the wireless telephone network, having just announced its new compact multimode platform, the XMM 7060.
*image for illustrative purposes only. Actual product is expected to differ significantly
According to a press released issued by the chip giant, the XMM 7060 consists of two key components; the "multimode baseband processor X-GOLD 706" and SMARTi 4G RF transceiver. Intel claims that the tightly-integrated chipset is suitable for "integration in LTE-enabled portable devices such as mobile handsets, data cards/dongles and other embedded solutions" when used in conjunction with its "3GPP Release 8 triple mode protocol stack".
The X-GOLD 706 baseband processor, manufactured in 40nm process technology, is based on the proven 2G/3G X-GOLD 626 with an integrated low power LTE L1 subsystem. Therefore smart phones and tablets based on the XMM 6260 2G/3G platform using the X-GOLD 626 can be easily migrated to LTE ensuring the customers a high degree of reuse of their hardware and software investment. The new baseband processor is accompanied with the SMARTi4G, incorporating optimized building blocks of the leading-edge 2G/3G SMARTi UE2 and SMARTi LU RF transceiver — the world’s first commercially available LTE transceiver. The 65nm CMOS RF transceiver employs a proven digital architecture that significantly reduces the number of external RF components such as power amplifiers and filters, and, hence, reduces board space, BOM and power consumption.
The XMM 7060 slim modem platform fits in less than 700mm² PCB (Printed Circuit Board) area including all necessary system components for quad band LTE, penta band 3G and quad band EDGE applications. It supports LTE category 3 (CAT-3) throughputs (100Mbps/50Mbps download/upload respectively) and is compliant to LTE Release 8 standard supporting FDD and TDD mode for all bandwidth up to 20MHz. In addition Inter-RAT handover features with 3G and 2G systems are naturally included.
Unfortunately, users hoping to purchase a smartphone that features the Intel XMM 7060 compact multimode platform will probably have a great deal of waiting in store for them. This is because Intel has confirmed that the first platform samples will only be made available in Q3 2011, while mass shipments are only expected to commence in the second half of 2012.
Source: Intel Newsroom